The Chargers May Be Coming To L.A. After Two Measures Are Defeated In San Diego
San Diego had its own ballot to tend to on Tuesday, and it seems that a couple of the results could have some implications for L.A.'s football fans.
Measures C and D, either of which could have helped the San Diego Chargers find a new stadium to play in, were defeated at the voting booth, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. This leaves Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who wants to move the team out of the aging Qualcomm Stadium, with a limited set of options. One of those options, it turns out, is to move to L.A. and play in the forthcoming Inglewood stadium alongside the L.A. Rams.
Measure C, which was drawn up by the Chargers, would have transformed the San Diego Padres' Tailgate Park and the Metropolitan Transit System bus yard into a stadium. The plan was to use mostly tourism money and a hotel-tax hike to fund the $1.8 billion project; the team would also cover a large portion of the costs.
Measure D, promoted by attorney Cory Briggs and former Councilwoman Donna Frye, would have also increased the hotel tax to help build a stadium in either downtown San Diego or in Mission Valley.
The measures, both of which needed a two-thirds majority vote, were rejected by voters. Not only that, they couldn't even muster a simple majority vote—both measures have gotten a "yes" from about 40% of voters.
The arguments against the measures vary, but it mainly boils down to the hotel tax hike. "The hotel tax isn't a steady stream of revenue. It's volatile. If there's a dip in the economy, who backs up that debt? It'll be San Diego tax payers," Tony Manolatos, a spokesman for No on C, told LAist. As noted in another Union-Tribune article, tourism officials and most hoteliers don't support the measures either.
It seems that there are stakes that go beyond the stadium issue. "The Chargers try to turn it into a loyalty test," said Manolatos. And it does seem that way; back in September, Spanos told reporters that he'll read into the vote results. "If we only get 30 or 35 percent that tells you one thing. If we get 60 percent that tells you something else. I'm anxious to see what's going to happen on November 8," said Spanos.
There's still the possibility that Spanos can strike a deal to get a new stadium in San Diego. In an open letterwritten after the defeat of Measure C, Spanos said, "We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes."
The most intriguing option (for us Angelenos, anyway) is for the Chargers to move into the forthcoming Inglewood stadium along with the Rams. This means that there'll be two NFL teams playing in the L.A. County, though it's uncertain what the Chargers would call themselves in this scenario. The L.A. Chargers? Or, uh, the Southern California Chargers?
Earlier this year, the Rams, Chargers, and Oakland Raiders were all eyeing a move to Los Angeles. The Chargers and Raiders had teamed up to pitch a new stadium in Carson, but that deal fell through when it was announced that the Rams were given a new stadium in Inglewood that's set to open in 2019. While the Chargers' plans for Carson got nixed, they do have a tentative deal with the Rams in which the Chargers may exercise an option to become a second tenant of the Inglewood stadium. Spanos and company will have until January 15 to make the decision. If they back out, the option will then go to the Raiders (but it's very possible they're moving to Las Vegas).
Marc Ganis, a sports consultant who helped the Raiders and Rams leave L.A. for Oakland and St. Louis in 1995, told USA Today that it's "certainly the likelihood" that the Chargers will go to L.A. if the measures were defeated. "There are some issues with moving to Los Angeles, not the least of which is a ($550 million) relocation fee. But by then, you will also see a new stadium coming out of the ground (in L.A.), and that is an awesome facility," said Ganis.
It might be worth mentioning that both the Rams and Chargers currently have losing records. But hey! The more the merrier!